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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 July 2018

'Lucky' Karolina Pliskova expects tough time at Wimbledon despite being top women's seed remaining

The No 7 seed plays Kiki Bertens on Monday in fourth round as second week of the grand slam tournament commences

Karolina Pliskova is the highest seed left in the women's draw at Wimbledon. EPA
Karolina Pliskova is the highest seed left in the women's draw at Wimbledon. EPA

Karolina Pliskova admits to feeling the pressure of being the only top 10 seed left going into the second week of Wimbledon.

The women's top players were decimated in the first week, with only seven of the 32 seeds remaining in the draw.

The likes of Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and Venus Williams were all dumped out in the first three rounds, making it one of the most open women's draws in recent memory.

Pliskova at seven is the highest seed left in the tournament, and even she nearly went home as she trailed by a set and a break in her win over Mihaela Burzarnescu on Friday.

"It's important to me that I'm in the draw," the Czech, who plays Kiki Bertens in the next round on Monday, said. "Even though they are not seeded, I think all the players are pretty strong and playing very good tennis.

"They wouldn't be there without playing a good level here.

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"I think it's very open. Every tournament there are some surprises where seeded players are losing. I think there's always quite big pressure on the seeded players.

"I think it's very lucky that of all of the top 10, only I am in.

"Everything is possible. You can see everybody is playing great tennis. There's so many close matches. For me it's important I'm in the draw still."

Amid all the seeds dropping, Serena Williams has been going quietly about her business and building some momentum.

Williams is on the comeback trail from giving birth and a recent injury, which saw her pull out of the French Open ahead of the fourth round.

If Pliskova is feeling the pressure, then Williams is enjoying playing with freedom ahead of her clash with Evgeniya Rodina.

"There's only a handful of people that can say that they don't have to do anything else in their career," she said.

"Honestly, most people can say that because every day that we're out here and we're healthy, doesn't matter if you won or if you didn't, what we do for a living is a real blessing."

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the seeds falling could be, ironically, Dominika Cibulkova.

The Slovakian would have been ranked 32nd had Wimbledon not given Serena Williams a seed, which bumped her down the list.

Cibulkova disagreed with the decision and has let her tennis do the talking, knocking out Johanna Konta and 15th seed Elise Mertens in the first week.

She next plays Hsieh Su-Wei, who slayed world number one Halep on Saturday, winning five games in a row and saving match point in the final set.

Any one of the 16 players remaining will fancy their chances of lifting the crown at the end of the week, with 11th seed Angelique Kerber up against Belinda Bencic, 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko facing Aliaksandra Sasnovich while Daria Kasatkina will take on Muguruza's conqueror Alison Van Uytvanck.

Donna Vekic and Julia Georges and Camila Giorgi and Ekaterina Makarova also battle it out.

Meanwhile, in the men's competition, all eyes remain on Roger Federer who has not been troubled yet in his bid to win the tournament for a ninth time.

The defending champion and No 1 seed has not dropped a set yet and he takes on Adrian Marnnarino in Monday's opening game on Centre Court in his fourth-round match.

Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, will bid to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011 when he goes up against Jiri Vesely.

If the Spaniard, who is guaranteed to remain No 1 post-Wimbledon after already matching last year's performance, is triumphant he will face the winner of the match between No 5 seed Juan Martin del Potro and Gilles Simon.

Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic will take on Russian Karen Khachanov in his last-16 match.